JCAHO Revokes Accreditation From King/Drew Medical Center
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations on Tuesday revoked its accreditation of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, denying a second appeal by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to reverse the decision, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 2/2).
Regulators have repeatedly cited King/Drew for patient care problems. JCAHO in December 2004 issued King/Drew a preliminary denial of accreditation after inspectors visited the hospital several times in response to reports of patient deaths.
Loss of JCAHO accreditation could affect the facility's contracts with private insurers, its eligibility to participate in federal programs and its physician-training programs (California Healthline, 12/10/04).
The loss of accreditation, which takes effect immediately, will require some patients to be transferred to other hospitals such as St. Francis Medical Center, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center. Such moves will cost the hospital $3 million to $5 million over the next six months, according to Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Director Thomas Garthwaite.
The move also could affect the hospital's approval to treat emergency psychiatric patients and training of medical specialists at Drew University, the medical school affiliated with King/Drew. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education typically requires teaching hospitals to be JCAHO-accredited.
In addition, the trauma center at King/Drew, which is in the process of closing, cannot reopen unless the hospital receives JCAHO accreditation, according to the Los Angeles Times.
CMS this month also will decide whether the hospital can continue to receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding, which will be a "more serious test of King/Drew's ability to survive," the Times reports.
According to the Times, county supervisors and health officials "anticipated" and "planned" for the loss of accreditation, despite the appeal filing. Officials say they plan to apply for reaccredidation before the end of the year.
Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said, "It's a stain on the hospital. We lost the accreditation because the hospital is an absolute mess. It's far worse than anybody had known."
Los Angeles City Council member Janice Hahn said she was concerned that the loss of accreditation will affect King/Drew's recruitment of physicians. She added, "Clearly, the [county] Department of Health Services just cannot fix what's wrong."
Garthwaite said, "I don't think this reflects any failures in the revamping, the transformation of King/Drew. It really just speaks to how broken (the hospital) was before many of the latest actions were really implemented."
Supervisor Mike Antonovich said, "Now we have the opportunity to bring in new management and remove those employees who are part of the problem."
Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke noted that JCAHO had recently raised its standards for hospital inspections prior to inspectors' most-recent visit to King/Drew. She said, "This is really a new approach by (the commission) that Martin Luther King hospital is on the front end of. It's a good thing for patients, but it's a bad thing when you happen to be the first one it hits" (Leonard/Chong, Los Angeles Times, 2/2).